Interview

Meet the World Record-Breaking Zimbabwean Comedian About to Conquer the World

Stand-up comic Carl Joshua Ncube on breaking the Guinness World Record for most comedy shows in one week and the state of Zimbabwean comedy.

In a country that hasn’t had much to celebrate in the past few months, comedian Carl Joshua Ncube has given Zimbabwe something to smile about after he successfully completed his attempt at breaking the Guinness World Record of most comedy shows in one week.


From 17 August to 23 August, Ncube managed 31 shows across 31 different venues in South Africa and Zimbabwe, narrowly beating Australian Mark Murphy’s record of 30 shows which has stood since 2007.

“Personally I needed to professionally push my boundaries as a comedian and I needed something that had the capability of unifying Zimbabweans by making them rally behind a cause,” said Ncube.

Carl Joshua Ncube at La Gondola in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by KB Mpofu.

While Zimbabwe’s economic and political challenges are not new, the past two months have been marked by street protests in the major cities of Harare and Bulawayo as citizens voice their discontent. The embattled government, through the police, has responded by announcing a two-week ban on all forms of street protests in Harare, until 16 September.

Ncube, like most of his compatriots, is not oblivious of the goings-on in Zimbabwe. Many of his followers can attest to a significant shift in his repertoire, which now includes a lot of political humour, a theme which he used to steer clear of. “Politically, Zimbabwe is in a real bad state and it is my hope that our politicians will start listening to the people. I’m only using comedy to express what people are saying,” the comedian mentions.

In spite of the challenges at home, Ncube, who was last week part of the Africa Laughs Comedy Show in Kampala, is keen on sharing the Zimbabwean story and conquering the world. “It’s always good to perform at home, but for my growth as a comedian, my objective is telling the Zimbabwean story to the world. I love seeing if the Zimbabwean funny is globally funny,” he said.

Carl Joshua Ncube at La Gondola in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by KB Mpofu.

Being famous here, according to Ncube, is alright, but it’s probably where most local artists miss out on the bigger picture because there is a larger audience and market out there than Zimbabwe’s population of 13 million. He lamented the fact that while lots of local comedians and actors are making viral videos, very few are reaping any financial reward from their efforts.

“If your audience is used to consuming your content for free, how are you going to survive? All of these guys making videos, who is paying them? They are doing videos and getting 60 000 views but how come they are not growing? So you are a viral hit, you have viral videos but can you perform in South Africa, to a South African? How are you successful in a country of 13 million? Right now I’m racing against the clock, I’m 37, and there are seven billion people who don’t know who I am.”

Carl Joshua Ncube at La Gondola in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by KB Mpofu.

While acknowledging the small population as a factor that hinders many artists’ growth, Ncube said there is a need for Zimbabweans to embrace their own talent. “It’s a lot harder to market to Zimbabweans because we are overly critical of our own success stories,” he said.

“You are only good enough with the support that you get. Sometimes I think as Zimbabweans we need to get off our high horses. Our Mighty Warriors [Zimbabwe women’s football team] went to the Olympics and lost to Germany, so what? They went to the Olympics! How many of us have been to the Olympics? How many of us have ever been inside an Olympic village?”

KB Mpofu is a freelance photojournalist based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe with an interest in development stories, arts and culture. Keep up with him on Instagram at @kbmpofu.

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Photo: Akinola Boluwatife

Whoisakin Channels His Love For Anime In the New Video For ‘Magic’

The single, featuring Olayinka Ehi, comes off his latest EP Full Moon Weekends.

Nigerian singer-songwriter Whoisakin is sharing a new music video to accompany his hit summer release, "Magic".

His roots certainly show true as his Lagos inspired trap soul/R&B sounds fill us up with feelings of summer and a love made from dreams.

High off of a recent feature in Rolling Stone, Whoisakin's latest music video comes off of his debut EP Full Moon Weekends, his first release as a part of Mr Eazi's #emPawa30 project.

With all of the successes and accomplishments that have come along with it, the original story behind the song isn't as sweet, "Magic was actually inspired by a summer 2019 fling I had with some girl", the 22-year-old singer says, "Even though I thought the relationship had potential at the early stages, she never felt the same way and it was just 'vibes' for her. I mean the moments were beautiful but they never lasted. I made the record a few weeks after we were over. She got upset at me and that was it."

He went on to speak about his first release into the music industry as, "a full story about me and my relationships in 2019, basically. I was doing an internship with some construction company at the time so I had a whole lot of time to live life (especially the nightlife), experience new things. So, I felt like an animated series for the whole tape would be the best way to share the story better. Plus, I'm a big anime fan."


Check out Whoisakin's music video for "Magic" here.


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